Treading Lightly on Soft Ground

March 1, 2001
Getting grass established at the Sky View Country Club in rural Warren County, NJ, was tricky business. Hilly topography and easily erodible soils, combined with the need to cause as little tracking damage as possible to the upscale residential lots and adjacent golf course, posed an equipment dilemma.
Sky View Country Club golf course under construction.
Hose application allows the equipment to be moved less frequently.
Grass established on residential lots.Houses in the half-million-dollar to well-over-a-million-dollar price range were being constructed on large, rambling lots, some with steep hills. Although the area had been cleared and prepared for seeding and mulching, owner Al Cerra of Bronte & Company in Sparta, NJ, recognized before he contracted for the seeding work that running traditional large, heavy hydroseeding equipment on this type of soil would create deep tracks in residential yards and – even worse – on the fairways of the golf course. Besides creating unsightly ruts that would later need to be infilled, extensive soil compaction can make establishing vegetation more difficult. The solution, he reasoned, was to find smaller seeding equipment. Although machines with capacities in the thousands of gallons are sometimes employed for large projects such as golf courses, Cerra opted for a diminutive 250-gal.-capacity Reinco HG-2P Hydrograsser. Even though the job might take longer with a smaller-capacity tank because more loads would be required, it seemed preferable to patching and filling in numerous tracks after the seeding was completed. Loaded onto a small rack truck that could traverse the site with a minimum of tracking, the smaller unit also proved to be easier to maneuver around the varied topography and structures – driveways, homes, and features of the golf course – than larger equipment would have been.One man, using the Hydrograsser, seeded and fertilized about 4 ac. of land each day, occasionally with the help of a second person. Using a 100-ft.-long delivery hose, the two could seed about 135 ft. in any direction from the truck. A 10,000-ft.2 area could be seeded each time the unit was moved. One load of seed and fertilizer covered about 12,000-14,000 ft.2After the seeding was completed, a crew of two used a junior-size straw mulcher with a 50-ft.-long delivery hose, applying straw out at least 80 ft. from the mulcher. Finally, the Hydrograsser was brought back in to tack the straw with RMB-Plus tackifier at a rate of 100 lb./ac., tacking about 15,000 ft.2 per load. Using hose application for both processes reduced tracking even further because the truck had to travel less on-site. An added benefit was precision: By using smaller equipment and lowering the application pressure, the operator was able to make more exacting “cut lines” along driveways and between fairways and roughs on the golf course.